Life After Travelling Around Australia

It’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve posted anything here. Truthfully, I’ve thought about closing this travel blog down many times, but the wanderer in me hates the thought of it disappearing altogether. Every time I go to delete it from the internet, I remember the reason we started this travel site in the first place – to inspire ourselves and other families to get out and travel Australia with kids and pets in tow. Once we’d set our sights on the idea of full-time travel, we knew that if we could make it happen, then anyone could.

With hard work and dedication and a lot of stubborn determination, we achieved our goal of selling everything to travel Australia, and we had the most wonderful of family experiences along the way. Living on the road changed us from the depths of who we believed ourselves to be, right through to who we’ve since become.

Why We Stopped Travelling Australia.

After we’d been on the road for around six months, Matt’s dad called, as he needed some respite. Matt’s grandmother developed severe dementia, it progressed quite rapidly, and so, instead of continuing on our way, we needed to stay put and help care for her.

What was supposed to be a 2 week stop turned into almost 2 years. We sold our Jayco Swan and bought an old caravan to renovate – a project we’re still yet to finish.

It was during this time that the kids reconnected with their homeschool group, and as they catapulted toward teen years, it became very evident that developing friendships, bonds and connections was more important for them than travelling. The decision was made to apply for a rental and re-settle. It took a long time for it to feel right, but the benefit of having left everything behind, and having shed my old self, was that I returned as a slightly braver person, keen to make connections.

Goals To Have For A Life After Travel

Just like everyone’s travel style is different, everyone’s life goals are different. Before we left to travel Australia, we knew what our goal would be when we’d decided to stop – to buy a home on some acreage.

This goal seemed huge, even more out of our reach than travel ever felt, and yet we knew that somehow there was a rural property just waiting to become ours.

But stopping travel wouldn’t be easy, and life after travel would turn out to be even heavier than the emptiness that staying in one place inflicted on us.

It turned out that the next couple of years would be filled with Dementia, terminal illness, losing loved ones, caring for loved ones, losing friends and having to face our own mortality and that of everyone around us. It was  rough ride.

So we did what we could. Matt found a great paying job – this turned out to be a dance with the devil – it almost destroyed him, however the increased finances helped buy our dream home so it’s worth keeping that in perspective. We found a cheap but nice rental, and we went about re-establishing our lives and saving towards our dream home.

 

Let it Snow Google’s Cool Gift For an Aussie Summer!

Let it Snow Google’s Cool Gift For an Aussie Summer!

I’m just dropping in with a quick little snippet of fun today 🙂

Ok, so something you may or may not know about me (Loreena) is that I’m a little bit geeky.

Geeky in the sense that my friends ask me to do Google searches for them, or computer related questions, and I help people with websites for a living. But being a bit Geeky can be fun sometimes right?

It definitely is when Google release their little quirks and I happen to pick up on them….. For this gift, Google has come up with a unique and wintery bit of fun!

You just need to type the words: Let It Snow into Google search and watch what happens!

As I look out the window right now, it’s actually a rainy drizzly day, it seems that someone forgot to remind Mother Nature this year that Australia is generally warm and sunny in December and that Christmas is all about BBQ’s outside, swimming at the beach or playing cricket!

So anyway, to kill a little boredom today (as if anyone has time to be bored this close to Christmas) head to Google Search and type in let it snow, I guarantee it’s fun!

5 Things I Learned in Kakadu

5 Things I Learned in Kakadu

When you set off for a journey of any kind within Australia, especially to one of Australia’s most popular travel destinations, you can’t help but arrive with pre-conceived ideas of what you will see and discover while you are there. For us, Kakadu was no different. We’d heard people refer to the amazing Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory top end as Kaka-don’t which certainly had us wondering what to expect, it didn’t however deter us from visiting.

The best way to describe Kakadu is spiritual. I totally get that many people can obviously visit the place and see trees and water and think “is that it”? I pity those people. Seriously. For those who refer to Kakadu as a waste of time or a disappointment, all I can imagine is that haven’t opened their travelling hearts, minds and souls to the amazement that exists, the history that pumps through the veins of the eco system, and the reminder that we’re all so small and tiny in the scale of things and as a society we’ve seriously lost sight of the beauty that is the world in which we live.

So, if you’re wondering whether you should visit Kakadu, then YES! If you get the chance, you should, embrace it, breathe it, stop, stand still and soak in the spirit of mother earth that hugs you and tickles your cheeks while you are there. Listen to the sounds and the stories of the land, and walk the trails, read, discover, understand some of the amazing history that is Australia. Look beyond what’s just in front of you and you’ll see it for what it is…. AMAZING.

Entrance to Kakadu National Park

The Entrance to Kakadu

So without further adieu here are the top 5 things I learned in Kakadu:
1.Forget What You’ve Been Taught About Australian History.

Yes, I’m educated, a great Aussie education, I knew that there was an invasion of Australia, and I knew that the Aboriginal people did rock paintings. I knew what I was taught. But I didn’t know a thing. I didn’t understand that we are all part of Aboriginal culture whether we like it or not. The Aboriginal culture is about the land. We are part of the land and the land is part of us. That includes everyone, any race, any skin colour, it includes us all. There is still a culture out there fighting for all it’s might to survive the destruction of white settlement, there is still a culture out there that is trying to find it’s way, a way to share all it has to share and embrace the new “way” of doing things. There is a generation of wonderful descendants sharing the traditional way of land management within our National Parks. There is much to be learned about Australia’s history that I don’t think you full understand until you discover places such as Kakadu (and remote inland Australia) and you start to understand that there is a forgotten culture, the oldest culture in the world that is fighting just to remain.

2. Make up Your Own Mind.

As I mentioned before, we’d heard Kakadu referred to as Kaka-don’t, and as I said before I’ll say again… I pity those people. I learned that no matter what you hear about a place or destination, if you want to explore it, then do so, discover it for yourself, because everyone has different perceptions and what one person finds boring or over-rated, you may find magical.

3. Recharge your Camera Batteries.

Ok, so this probably shouldn’t be at the top of my list, but it is. You see, there’s a whole lot of walking to be done in Kakadu National Park. Lots of great look outs to experience and plenty of wildlife, rock art and history to discover. After trekking probably a couple of kilometres in all we got to the top of one of the most amazing lookouts only to turn on both the video camera and the Nikon only to find that they were both flat! I managed to flick the camera on and capture a single shot, but missed preserving some of the magic of that walk. NOTE: It can be difficult when you’re camping in a National Park Free Camp, as there’s no power supplies, but we did have an inverter in the car and I should have taken more care to be sure both batteries were full. (I didn’t learn my lesson by the way and missed taking a camera right through Cutta Cutta Caves which is maybe even more disappointing as I still got to capture most of Kakadu)!

4. Keep Your Eye out For Travel Groups/Guides.

We were travelling solo as a family, and being on a budget meant we didn’t place value on booking into official tour groups or allocating finances to paying guides to take us places. Most places are well signed especially places like Kakadu, but we learned that there’s definitely a whole lot of value in hearing stories that have been shared and learned by local tour guides. We’d been reading our information guides, and knew we’d like to walk to Ubirr, we figured the kids could probably make the climb and we’d carry the little guy for the chance to take in the views, but the walk probably wouldn’t have been as fulfilling without hearing the stories and information shared with us on the way.

This was seriously one of the luckiest things that happened to us; arriving at the same time as a few tour groups to the entrance of the walking trails. Generally I’d not choose to hang around with groups of people when I’m trying to discover a National Park, it tends to scare away wildlife and make it a bit noisy all those things, but we saw opportunity when it knocked in this case. The guide was friendly enough and let us tag along in the background, and we listened intently as he shared stories of dreamtime, rock art and a culture that’s fading so fast. Stories of lifestyle, shelters, tools, seasonal keeping of the land, of the people that still live traditionally within the park. So, keep your eye out, if you have the opportunity to tag along bahind a group, do it!

5. Children are More Capable Than we Give Them Credit For.

Our children were quite young when we visited Kakadu, 5, 3 & 1 years old. We knew that some of the walking might be a struggle, and tried to stick to climbs and treks that they would cope with. We were pleasantly suprised when they managed Kilometres of walking around Kakadu (and other destinations too!). We discovered that when surrounded by excitement, nature and the ability and permission to explore and learn, that walking wasn’t so much of a chore for them, as it was part of a fun adventure. So my advice to others is don’t avoid doing walks and treks to great destinations just because you have children, just be prepared to allow them time, pace yourselves and allow it to become the amazing adventure that it is!

taking a tour in Kakadu

Tagging along with a tour group in Kakadu